Ten years after ruling the marquee, Ramya steps into the political arena

To remain at the zenith for over a decade especially for an actress is a gravity defying feat. Climbing the well-oiled ladder is relatively easier than the levitation simply because there are various forces not only trying to push but also pull you down. Her image doesn’t solely depend on her performances but also her personal life and how the press end up presenting it to the public. When she’s not performing under the harsh arc lights, she has to pose for the paparazzi and also fans who want a keepsake with their idol. The scrutiny is constant and microscopic. The attention she once craved for could turn claustrophobic and nightmarish. If she’s managed to circumvent the casting couch and make it big, she has to deal with producers out to short change her and lecherous heroes who feel they have done a favour by condescending to co-star.

Ramya has survived all this and more and still reigns, unscathed. Having led a cocooned existence in the lap of luxury, acting was an accident. Spotting her at a do, Parvathamma Raj Kumar’s uncanny eye zeroed in on her to debut with her son Puneet in Appu. Ramya was furious to learn that she’d been replaced by Rakshita at the last moment. Unfair, she thought, though nothing is unethical in the film industry. Never one to take defeat lying low she vowed to make it big. Abhi with Puneet catapulted her right beside Rakshita. The battle for prima donna was on. There was no love lost between the two and a salivating press played it up. They probably could not get along simply because they were too similar in nature. When Rakshita lost the battle of the bulge, Ramya found herself at the top, lonely . It has been easy to maintain her position because the contenders turned out to be mere pretenders.

Her career has been one swift rise to the top. She’s as much a fantasy for her male fans as she’s thought of as a family member among the ladies. To remain popular you have to cut across age and gender. She did try to cross borders and act in Tamil and Telugu films but realized she should not accept crumbs when she had the cake. She’s made terrible choices like the Tamil Kutthu and the disastrous Julie but has become prudent in the last few years. Ramya is no longer just the romantic relief in potboilers. While the superstars prefer nubile nymphets, Ramya adds value to films starring youngsters like Diganth and Yogi for whom it is a dream come true. Distributors swear she’s the sole reason for films like Sanju Weds Geetha and Sidlingu doing well not to mention Jhonny Mera Naam. Her gradual maturity as a performer is evident in Sidlingu playing a sedate deglamourised character. It’s the right time for her to bank on her abilities and salability and act in a heroine centric film.

The best thing about her is that she acts only when the camera is on. Otherwise what you see is what you get. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Whether you want to be the object of her temper or her effusive affection depends on your demeanour. You don’t have to suck up to her. You don’t have to praise her performances or her choice of films. She’s had her share of stormy relationships with friends and boyfriends. She probably gives too much too soon. “I’m not easy to handle,” she confesses. She needs someone to sooth her when she seethes. She may appear haughty when they’re inept but is very protective about her support staff. I’ve seen her go to great lengths to solve their personal woes. I know a few producers and directors who dream of working with her but find the mere idea of approaching her daunting. “She just has to be treated with kid gloves. You pamper her and give in to her whims and she’s putty in your hands,” says a director who’s had a pleasant experience working with her. Is shifting from donning war paint to wearing starched saris just to stay in the limelight? “I don’t think so. I grew up in a political environment and will give it my best shot. I refuse to be a part time politician. It’s a fulltime job. I’m just grappling with the grassroots. Anyway I plan to do many more films,” says the star who refused to stand for the current elections. You can rest assured she’ll not resort to political promiscuity like a couple of other actors who recently joined. “I firmly believe in the Congress ideology. It’s been instilled in me.” Crowds have been thronging venues where she’s canvassing for Congress candidates. It is to be seen if the fans who rushed to buy tickets for her films will soil their finger for her when she gets a political ticket.

Keywords: actor Ramya